Sheffield United 3 Plymouth 0: Baxter at the double for Blades

Jose Baxter celebrates.
Jose Baxter celebrates.
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Two penalties from Jose Baxter saw Sheffield United overcome a tricky second round FA Cup tie against Plymouth.

The game burst into life after a dull first 45 minutes, when Reuben Reid hammered an Argyle spot-kick wide.

Baxter showed much better accuracy with his penalties, before Marc McNulty pounced late on, to put the Blades into the third-round draw.

Michael Higdon and Baxter returned for the Blades, with Paddy McCarthy and Chris O’Grady unable to play due to their loan deals. The latter would have missed the game anyway, with a calf injury, but manager Nigel Clough hopes to have the striker back for next Saturday’s League One trip to Fleetwood.

Ryan Flynn’s long-range shot had Luke McCormick scrambling to clear the ball, with the rebound just falling wide of the onrushing Higdon.

And the Blades winger, tucking in at right-back, also came close when a powerful surge forward ended with a shot which drilled wide of the post.

Baxter then saw his header drift wide, from Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s free-kick from the right flank.

Campbell-Ryce was replaced with McNulty at half-time, but within two minutes United had a lucky escape.

Former Rotherham United forward Reuben Reid missed from the penalty spot, blazing wide with his spot-kick.

And United punished the visitors by going 2-0 up after being awarded two penalties of their own in front of the Kop.

Baxter netted either side of the goalkeeper to finally warm up the majority of the 7,348 crowd, with 638 making the long trip from Plymouth.

The tie was over, but substitutes McNulty and Florent Cuvelier combined for United’s third goal. A low cross from the right by Cuvelier was flicked in at the near post by McNulty, who had impressed since his introduction at the interval.